Spanish Version
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Femoral hernia

Groin hernia

A hernia occurs when the contents of the abdomen push through a weak point or tear in the muscle wall of the belly. This layer of muscle holds the abdominal organs in place.

A femoral hernia is a bulge in the upper part of the thigh near the groin.

Causes

Most of the time, there is no clear cause of a hernia. Some hernias may be present at birth (congenital), but are not noticed until later in life.

Some factors that contribute to the development of a hernia include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic cough
  • Heavy lifting
  • Obesity
  • Straining to urinate because of an enlarged prostate

Femoral hernias tend to occur more often in women than in men.

Symptoms

You may see a bulge in the upper thigh, just below the groin.

Most femoral hernias cause no symptoms. You may have some groin discomfort. It may be worse when you stand, lift heavy objects, or strain.

Sometimes, the first symptoms are:

  • Sudden groin pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

This may mean that the intestine within the hernia is blocked. This is an emergency.

Exams and Tests

The best way to tell if there is a hernia is to have your health care provider perform a physical exam.

If there is any doubt about the exam findings, an ultrasound or CT scan may be helpful.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the symptoms present with the hernia.

If you feel sudden pain in your groin, a piece of intestine may be stuck in the hernia. This is called an incarcerated hernia. This problem needs treatment right away in an emergency room. You may need emergency surgery.

When you have ongoing discomfort from a femoral hernia, talk to your provider about your treatment choices.

Hernias often get larger as time passes. They do not go away on their own.

Compared to other types of hernias, femoral hernias more commonly have small intestine get stuck in the weak area.

Your surgeon may recommend femoral hernia repair surgery. The surgery is done to avoid a possible medical emergency.

If you do not have surgery right away:

  • Increase your fiber intake and drink fluids to avoid constipation.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • See your provider if you have trouble urinating (men).
  • Use proper lifting techniques.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The chances of a femoral hernia coming back after surgery are low.

If the intestine or other tissue becomes stuck, a portion of the intestine may need to be removed.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider or go to the emergency room right away if:

  • You suddenly develop pain in the hernia, and the hernia cannot be pushed back into the abdomen using gentle pressure.
  • You develop nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
  • Your hernia becomes red, purple, dark, or discolored.

Call your provider if you have a bulge in the upper thigh next to the groin.

Prevention

It is difficult to prevent hernia. Making changes in your lifestyle can help.

References

Blatnik JA, Rosen MJ. Femoral hernia repair. In: Delaney CP, Goldstone J, Hardacre JM, et al, eds. Netter's Surgical Anatomy and Approaches. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 30.

Dunbar KB, Jeyarajah DR. Abdominal hernias and gastric volvulus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 26.

Malangoni MA, Rosen MJ. Hernias. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 44.

Reynolds JC, Ward PJ, Rose S, Solomon M. Small bowel. In: Reynolds JC, Ward PJ, Rose S, Solomon M, eds. Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations: Digestive System: Part II - Lower Digestive Tract, The. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:31-114.

BACK TO TOP Text only

  • Inguinal hernia - illustration

    Inguinal hernia is the result of an organ, usually bowel, protruding through a weak point or tear in the thin muscular abdominal wall. Inguinal hernias can restrict blood supply to the bowel herniated through the defect, creating a medical emergency.

    Inguinal hernia

    illustration

  • Femoral hernia - illustration

    A femoral hernia is a protrusion of a loop of the intestine through a weakened abdominal wall, located in the lower abdomen near the thigh.

    Femoral hernia

    illustration

  • Inguinal hernia - illustration

    Inguinal hernia is the result of an organ, usually bowel, protruding through a weak point or tear in the thin muscular abdominal wall. Inguinal hernias can restrict blood supply to the bowel herniated through the defect, creating a medical emergency.

    Inguinal hernia

    illustration

  • Femoral hernia - illustration

    A femoral hernia is a protrusion of a loop of the intestine through a weakened abdominal wall, located in the lower abdomen near the thigh.

    Femoral hernia

    illustration

 

Review Date: 9/3/2018

Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com

 
 
 

 

 

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.
Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.